Same ol’, same ol’. Gareth Bale scores a goal for Tottenham Hotspur in a pre-season run out against LA Galaxy and celebrates with his beyond camp heart shaped fingers. No big deal, right? Wrong.
As Bale outjumped Omar González to head home a Gylfi Sigurdsson’s cross, thoughts drifted to the back and hip injury that the Welsh winger was supposed to be suffering from. You know, the injury that had prevented him from being selected for Team GB at the Olympics. Less than a month ago he made himself unavailable for selection when Stuart Pearce was announcing his team. Last night, Bale was subbed off for the last 15 minutes, with Vertonghen and Sigurdsson the only Spurs players to get more minutes on the pitch.
“I feel the Olympics would be a great opportunity for a young player like me to play in a major tournament,” he said in February 2011. “Look, I’m Welsh and we all know Wales don’t tend to qualify for too many. I would love to play in the Olympics, especially as it would be a part of a Great Britain team. Of course, I always want Wales to be Wales. That is important and I wouldn’t want that to change but if there’s a chance for me to play in a GB team that would be a great idea.”
What a difference a year makes eh?
During the season, former Spurs manager Harry Redknapp said there would be no issues for Bale if he wanted to play in the Olympics.
“If he wants to play, I am sure we would let him,” he said. “It is a great honour for anybody to play in the Olympic Games.”
New Spurs manager, Andre Villas-Boas, obviously has different ideas though and explained why Bale was fit enough for Spurs but not fit enough for Team GB.
“He came back to us during this week, so [we had to] control the amount of effort he could put in,” he said. “Gareth is extremely young and physically a beast, so he was able to put on the effort, and we extended [his time] because we want him to complete a certain amount of minutes before we start the season.”
Team GB’s first game will be played tomorrow at Old Trafford against Senegal.